It’s not about guns, it’s about mental illness

With every tragedy such as the recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the news media, and spineless politicians start blaming guns in our society.

It is a fact that there are 300 million guns in our country of 300 million people. Yes, I know that not every one owns a gun but an attempt to ban them would not only be wrong, it would be futile.

While it is true that guns are used in senseless acts of violence, it is also true that not all senseless acts of violence are the result of guns.

When Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma, these same people did not call for a ban on fertilizer.

In fact, acts of violence involving knives, hammers, baseball bats and other objects kill folks just as dead as people using guns do. The gun is no more evil in itself than a hammer or baseball bat. It is the user that makes any weapon deadly, and almost anything can become a weapon in the wrong hands.

So what is the common denominator for senseless acts of violence? What is the one thing that all these mindless deadly acts have in common?

Mental illness, that’s what. Most if not all of these horrible acts of violence are a result of mental illness.

So instead of making more feel-good gun control laws, why don’t we address the real problem. Right now parents across the nation, and especially in the State of Washington, are living in fear of their mentally ill child, spouse or relative. Did you know that in this state anyone over the age of 13 cannot be forced to undergo a mental evaluation unless they commit some terrible crime? This is the kind of law we need to change, not the right for folks to carry a concealed weapon to protect themselves.

In just about every case, the perpetrator refused treatment or quit taking prescribed medicine. It is almost impossible to commit someone who is in need of help unless they cooperate and it is very rare that they do.

Political correctness and political posturing have not and will not solve one thing. Cold hard logic has and can. Let us re-examine the laws that arbitrarily protect the rights of mentally ill individuals while ignoring the rights of their potential victims.

Bob Ryan